Fernandez to Make IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Debut at Phoenix Adrian Fernandez will take his first laps aboard the ...
Fernandez to Make IRL IndyCar® Series Debut at Phoenix
Adrian Fernandez will take his first laps aboard the #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone this weekend as he prepares to compete in his first IRL IndyCar Series event -- the Indy 200 Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).
Following a recent decision to enter IRL competition, Fernandez Racing has had just 11 days to prepare for Sunday's event, the second of 16 races on the 2004 IndyCar Series schedule.
Fernandez, who resides in nearby Paradise Valley, has made three starts on the one-mile desert oval. In 1992, Fernandez won at Phoenix in his Indy Lights debut. He also contested two CART events at PIR in 1994 and 1995. His best finish was 10th in 1994.
The Fernandez Racing team is led by veteran team manager Gustavo Del Campo, with Mike Sales as Chief Mechanic. Noted engineer John Ward, who served as chief engineer for Fernandez in the late '90s at Patrick Racing, returns to Fernandez Racing, teaming with race engineer Chris Finch and data acquisition engineer Matt Huth. Jeff McComb will be the spotter for Fernandez.
Note: The #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone will be run with an interim paint scheme this weekend due to the quick turnaround time. The 2004 paint scheme will be unveiled at the Indy Japan 300 in April.
Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"The past week has been a hectic one, and I'm sure the weekend will be as well. The team has done an amazing job to get everything put together in such a short amount of time to allow us to participate at Phoenix. Obviously, for me, this will be a learning weekend with no testing beforehand. We have the benefit of the experience of the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team, which we will rely on quite heavily this weekend. Down the road, having a two-car team will definitely be an asset and Kosuke [Matsuura] and I will be able to help each other."
FAST FACTS: Last competed on an oval in May of 2003, starting fifth and finishing sixth at Milwaukee-- holds four career oval wins (Rio -- 2000, Japan -- 1998/1999, Fontana -- 1999) and two pole positions (Milwaukee -- 2002, Michigan -- 1998)-- has made 64 oval starts, posting 31 top-10 finishes and eight podiums-- 40 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson.
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"This late decision has obviously put Adrian's IndyCar program behind at this date. We will be at Phoenix although not prepared in the manner in which we would prefer. This will be a tremendous learning experience, but I feel that Adrian is up for the challenge and I know the team will perform as well. Obviously this is not a race that I expect to win, but I believe we will put forth a good effort."